When someone writes the history of how COVID-19 spread across America, there will be an entire section on how our national government, and local governments, responded to the crisis. And since we are living that history, we can see those authorities making decisions in realtime—and now some are expressing regret. Here are the states whose leaders now admit they reopened too quickly in the face of spiking coronavirus cases.
Hospitals in Houston are overrun and the statewide case total is 200,000 with 2,666 deaths. “If I could go back and redo anything it probably would have been the opening of bars, now seeing in the aftermath how quickly the coronavirus spread in the bar setting,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, has told CNN affiliate KVIA. “Wishful thinking is neither good economic policy, nor good public health policy,” Texas Judge Lina Hidalgo said on This Week Sunday. “If we had stayed shut down for longer and opened more slowly, we would probably be in a more sustainable place in our economy.” She said the state opened “too early, too much.”
“We opened way too early in Arizona. We were one of the last states to go to stay at home and one of the first to reemerge, and we reemerged at zero to 60,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, a Democrat, said on This Week. “We had crowded nightclubs handing out free champagne, no masks. Our 20- to 44-year-olds, which is my own demographic, really led the explosion, and we’ve seen such growth in that area. We’re seeing a lot of people go to large family gatherings and infect their family members.” Arizona has 98,126 cases and 1,829 deaths.
“Well, it’s clear that the growth is exponential at this point. You know we’ve been breaking record after record after record all in the last couple of weeks. We instituted about a week ago a mask in public rule and we also increased the severity of penalties for businesses that don’t follow the rules,” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, a Republican, told ABC This Week. “There’s no doubt that when we reopened, people started socializing as if the virus didn’t exist,” he said. “It’s extremely worrisome.”
Plans to reopen in California have been scaled back, including indoor dining in much of the state, after an outbreak in cases. “We have to be much more vigilant in terms of maintaining our physical distancing from others and be much more vigilant as it relates to the prospects of being in situations where we are transmitting COVID-19,” California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said. “The decisions we’re making here today—we do so soberly but thoughtfully and deliberately with an idea on mitigating the spread of this virus.” “The state has been using the data to determine when counties are safe to open businesses and now to decide when to ‘toggle back,’ as Newsom has described the process of reversing course and closing down,” reports the Los Angeles Times. California has 264,000 cases and 6,336 deaths.
“We all want to get back to doing all the things we love in Washington during the summer, and fully open our economy, but we aren’t there yet,” Gov. Jay Inslee said Saturday. “This is an evolving situation and we will continue to make decisions based on the data.” Washington has 37,468 cases and 1,360 deaths.
Remember the basics: wear a face covering, don’t go into indoor spaces with people you aren’t sheltering with unless it’s essential, wash your hands frequently, practice social distancing. “For goodness sakes: avoid crowds, wear masks. Those are the fundamentals that—when you look at the television clips, when you see pictures in the newspapers—people are not doing that. That’s a recipe for disaster,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told CNBC. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.